Living the Good Life

WAKE UP: Every morning one of my cats is sat on my head.

OUR back garden has gone wild. The cats are thrilled: finally they’re getting to be the big scary cats they pretend to be. 

They’re stalking each other, birds, bugs, leaves and (hooray!) mice. I’m not very comfortable with rodents, which may be in part why we have five cats. It’s a good idea to keep them a little bit hungry, it keeps them edgy. 

It also keeps them close. So close in fact that I wake up every morning with at least one of the cats sat on my head, waiting patiently for that woman with thumbs to get up and get on with the most important meal of the day. 

I call them my breakfast escort. I do love them; they are great fun to have around. And in my opinion less isn’t more, more is more. So what other animals could we have in our house that wouldn’t upset my furry babies? 

Occasionally we look after a friend’s dogs whilst they go away: the two boy cats do a runner whenever the dogs are staying, but the three girl cats steadfastly hold their ground and give the dogs a thing or two to think about. But we can’t commit to having dogs all the time in our house; we just don’t have the time to walk them. Recently we almost (almost) ended up with rabbits, it was one of those ‘the owners are leaving the country, and they can’t take their dog/ cat/donkey/rabbit/duck with them’ situation. 

But my husband talked me down off the ledge explaining that cats quite like catching things that run, and hop and that he feared for the safety of the bunnies. 

So, failing bunnies, what about chickens? Could chickens fight back I wondered? We have a garden which is overgrown and needs to have some attention paid to it. Could we do ‘A Good Life?’ 

Could we dig up our garden and start growing our own food, keep some chooks, collect eggs? You don’t have to look far in Mallorca to find someone who knows a thing or two about chickens and the general consensus from my ‘Chook Coaches’ is that they scare the bobs off of cats and could probably hold their own. But we need a chook house and, well, chickens of course. Then there’s the crucial question: who’s going to be Margot and Jerry, and Tom and Barbara? 

Apparently I have already committed the first sin which is to give the chickens names (we think Laverne and Shelley would be funny). We’re hoping to get them from a battery farm, yes they do exist here in Mallorca, and we have a contact that is active in rescuing farmed chickens.  

And we have to secure the perimeter of our garden properly, we don’t want any of those ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ situations. It’s got to be safe. 

So in this case we know what comes first, not the chicken but the hedge.

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